New ET entry: Eddie Leonski

This Executed Today entry is actually a few days old; I’d forgotten to post about it before: Eddie Leonski, an American serviceman who became known as the Brownout Strangler. He was an American serviceman serving in Australia during World War II, who strangled three women and attacked several others over the course of just a few weeks in the spring of 1942.

Fun fact, not mentioned in the entry: Ivan Chapman, who wrote a book about Leonski, speculated he had leptomeningitis, like Arnold Sodeman, another serial killer in Australia whom I wrote about on ET. Leptomeningitis, a degenerative disease of the brain, goes a long way to explaining Sodeman’s crimes and would fit Leonski’s pattern of behavior as well. But unlike Sodeman, Leonski wasn’t autopsied after his execution, so we’ll never know one way or the other.

Status update: my life

I thought I’d let y’all know I’m feeling much better, mentally speaking. Right now I’m taking four different drugs, aka Drugs A, B, C and D. It seems like every four to six months or so the rug slips out from under me and have to get something adjusted. This time, my psychiatrist increased my dose of Drug D and it’s proven very beneficial.

Over the past few years, the times between crises have lengthened (it used to be every two months) and the crises themselves have been less severe. I think it’s in part because I’ve come to recognize when I’m on my way down, and seek help before I crash. I have gotten to the point where I know when I need help and when I can manage on my own. And I’m honest with my doctor and other support people, so they know to trust me when I say “I can get through this by myself” and when I say “I really need some help.”

This last crisis, though quite severe, had an interesting quality to it.

I was incredibly apathetic, just lying there for hours and hours, getting nothing done and feeling more and more guilty all the time about my lack of activity. I stopped eating. Finally I called my dad and he came and took me to his apartment, and the next day I initially refused to get out of bed. He begged me to go to the hospital and I said, “No.” He begged me to call the clinic I go to and it took awhile for me even find the energy and motivation to do that. We went there and I remember, when I finally saw the crisis worker with my father, and he told her what he’d observed, and she asked, “What’s happening, Meaghan?”

And I said, “Nothing.”
She said, “Now, you’ve very smart, and we both know that it can’t be that nothing’s wrong.”
I said, “That’s not what you asked.”
“Was it?”
“You asked what was happening. The answer is nothing. Absolutely nothing. I lie around doing nothing.”
“You got me,” she admitted.
(Being excessively literal is characteristic of people on the autism spectrum.)

But I wasn’t suicidal. I think that’s the first time I had a crisis like that and wasn’t having suicidal thoughts. I felt guilty and helpless and worthless, but nothing more than that. My friend Wendy the Minister says that’s progress.

And now I’m enjoying myself somewhat again. I’ve also kicked the caffeine. Okay, not entirely — caffeine’s hard to avoid in the course of one’s daily life. But I am no longer drinking two liters a day of Mountain Dew. I quit last week, switching to caffeine-free orange soda (and not so much of it). It was surprisingly easy; I basically had only one day of withdrawal symptoms, and no headache. And I am able to sleep MUCH easier than before. When I was on the Mountain Dew habit, I was constantly tired but never sleepy — a good friend of mine called it “down and dead.” No longer. I can sleep.

So life is looking up and I’m back to work on Charley, though trying to take it easy in that regard.